One fall day, in 2009, my phone rang. “Are you sitting down?” the caller asked.
I was told my one-year-old daughter was allergic to wheat, dairy, soy, petroleum based dyes (red 40), and acutely allergic to eggs and nuts. She had been allergy tested after having symptoms ranging from severe eczema to swelling of her eyes and lips since she was an infant. (I did breastfeed.) We had been going through $300 steroid creams like water; they aren’t approved for children that young because steroids have many side effects. I was at my wit’s end and had to do something, but it obviously wasn’t a permanent solution; hence the testing.
I wondered what is going on with our food system that is causing more people and children to have food allergies.
And with that, Pandora’s Box was opened. What I’ve learned about our commercial farming industry is horrific. From the pesticides, petrochemicals and fertilizers used, to the antibiotics and hormones in meats.
I love this video about the marketing secrets big brands use on us.
Why are hormones and antibiotics being used in the food system? Why do we in the US have so many instances of cancer, diabetes and heart disease, when in some other cultures there are none?
A lot of it comes down to lack of education and money. Companies design foods that are inexpensive to make, but they wouldn’t even feed their own families. Lunchables anyone? Read this New York Times article, the Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food. Sometimes the most well-known labels that we feel the most comfortable with, are actually the worst.
I read the China Study, and returned to education; obtaining my Certificate in Plant Based Nutrition through the T Collin Campbell institute and Cornell University. What I learned is this, many of our modern ailments can be lessened and sometimes even reversed through diet! Our diet enables our bodies to either heal itself, or can cripple the body and allow disease and inflammation to take over.
The solution was simple. I changed my daughter’s diet, and the symptoms went away overnight.
Was it easy? No. Was it worth it? Yes. For those of us that don’t have food allergies, whole foods are essential to health. There may be symptoms we can’t see on the outside that can be healed through fiber, vegetables, and whole foods.
Step one on the road to change. Read the ingredients of the foods you buy. If you don’t know what it is, or it sounds like a chemical, don’t buy it.
Stick to simple ingredients and select one or two nights per week to make a meal special.
Here are six of my favorite recipes that are essential for life in our household – and that just happen to have six ingredients or less! My daughter didn’t always eat this way – I had to start by leading by example, getting the junk foods out of our house (and realized how much money I saved on not buying foods we don’t need), and rewarding her through praise every time she tried something. It can take up to 13 exposures for children to be open to eating a new food.
Creamy Avocado and Sea Salt Toast
Avocado and Sea Salt Toast has a healthy, balanced blend of fat, FIBER and protein with zero cholesterol.
Greens Salad with Avocado, Chickpeas, Quinoa and Hummus Dressing is a hearty, yet easy-to-make salad that is sure to satisfy even the biggest appetite!
Out-Of-This-World Easy Eggplant “Parm”
Rich and delicious – yet surprisingly low in calories! This is a splurge item because it does use some non-dairy cheese, but it is used sparingly and is a great way to get the family on the road to change.
Hearty black beans, cool cucumbers, fresh mint, ripe peach and sweet mango blended together in a perfect melody. To save time, make the burgers ahead and pre-made salsa can be subbed for the mango salsa.
Grape Skewers with Lemon Vanilla “Frosting”
The key with children is to keep things simple and fun. These skewers fit the bill perfectly. My daughter loves to “dip” so this is a fun way to help her get a serving of fruit.
Refreshing Summer Coolers
My Summer Coolers with fresh fruit and herbs are perfect to bring with you on the go. They will leave you feeling light, refreshed and are 35 calories or less!
About the Author
Dawn Hutchins is a North Florida resident that has been food blogging since 2009, soon after her daughter was born. She is a Holistic Living Coach, health food nut, yoga lover and camping aficionado. Her mission is to promote health in mind, body and spirit throughout the community and beyond. Through her blog, Florida Coastal Cooking, she provides plant-based recipes, inspiration, and healthy living tips, and offers classes on essential oils for babies and children and coaching on healthy living!